World class repair center reduces cycle time by 25%.
When United Airlines decided to take its maintenance facility technology to a whole new level, they turned to their long-time trusted partner, FSB. Our team coordinated and supervised 35 different design partners who worked together on a nearly $1 billion new maintenance facility for the airline at Indianapolis International Airport. The end result was a top-flight state-of-the-art aircraft maintenance center that allowed the airline to more efficiently maintain its expanding fleet of B737, B757 and B767 aircraft.
Prior to the opening of this new center, United’s existing maintenance facilities operated similarly to automobile mechanic shops. Aircraft typically would spend an entire month undergoing maintenance, while large inventories of expensive parts “floated” throughout the system. Mechanics also saw only a small part of the total maintenance task, and as a result had less psychological investment in their jobs. The entire process was cumbersome, inefficient and badly in need of an upgrade.
To improve on these limitations, the FSB team met extensively with United’s administrative and maintenance staff to research new management practices, analyze production processes and develop a layout that revamped the entire maintenance facility’s workplace culture. The consensus was to create a design around focus cells, with teams of employees brought to each enlarged hangar bay in order to focus attention on maintenance tasks and activities within close proximity to each aircraft.
The end result is a state-of-the-art heavy maintenance facility containing 12 bays with streamlined technology that reduces maintenance time to approximately three weeks – a 25% average reduction. Ten of the aircraft bays are temperature regulated, and of those, five also utilize innovative and permanent cabin-level dock structures which add to the performance efficiency. The final design includes the hangars and a component overhaul building, plus a central receiving and warehouse area, a steam/chilled water/compressed air plant, computer and administrative offices, employee break rooms, industrial service yards, base security, aircraft ramps and employee parking. All are organized along a central “Main Street” corridor, laid out in a horseshoe pattern.